The 49ers haven’t been shy about trading players in the middle of the NFL Draft as part of a package, and these four could be used as such in 2021.
In 2020, the San Francisco 49ers sent away two players in the middle of that year’s NFL Draft, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and running back Matt Breida, who were both used as trade chips to move up in Rounds 6 and 5, respectively.
Goodwin’s tenure with the Niners had wound down after numerous injuries, but head coach Kyle Shanahan still felt the speedy receiver was too good to simply release outright. Breida, meanwhile, fell out of Shanahan’s favor late in 2019, thus prompting his trade to the Miami Dolphins.
With the 2021 draft on the horizon, it’s possible Shanahan and general manager John Lynch elect to engineer some similar moves, potentially to move up in one of the seven rounds or, perhaps, to add another draft pick to grab a player San Francisco considers a “must have.”
These kinds of trades are difficult to predict aside from the idea the 49ers will trade their starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, although all the signs point to Jimmy G staying put to at least start the upcoming season.
But these four players could end up being trade chips during the draft.
No. 4: 49ers Defensive Back Tarvarius Moore
It’s been three years since the Niners selected speedy defensive back Tarvarius Moore in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. And since then, Moore has yet to seize a starting job despite being given opportunities in 2019 and then again in 2020.
While Moore still has his speed, his coverage skills still haven’t shown much improvement over that timeframe despite the occasional splash play like his late interception of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV. More often than not, however, Moore takes bad angles and is generally a bigger liability in coverage than an asset.
At 24 years old, though, Moore still has room for development. And it would probably be best for him to remain solidified at a position instead of bouncing around the secondary like he has for much of his career so far. Although that versatility works to his advantage.
With the starting safety duo of Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt back for another year, San Francisco has a bit of a logjam at the position. Especially with reserves like Marcell Harris and Tavon Wilson waiting in the folds, too.
Entering a contract year, it’s possible the 49ers don’t envision keeping Moore around beyond 2021 and explore moving him and his cheap rookie contract to a team needing some secondary help late on draft day.
A move wouldn’t generate much in return. But it would free up a roster spot while potentially adding some late-round draft capital and/or the ability to move up in a round.